Examining ethnic exposure through the perspective of the neighborhood effect averaging problem: A case study of Xining, China

Yiming Tan, Mei Po Kwan, Zifeng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An increasing number of studies have observed that ignoring individual exposures to non-residential environments in people’s daily life may result in misleading findings in research on environmental exposure. This issue was recognized as the neighborhood effect averaging problem (NEAP). This study examines ethnic segregation and exposure through the perspective of NEAP. Focusing on Xining, China, it compares the Hui ethnic minorities and the Han majorities. Using 2010 census data and activity diary data collected in 2013, the study found that NEAP exists when examining ethnic exposure. Respondents who live in highly mixed neighborhoods (with high exposures to the other ethnic group) experience lower activity-space exposures because they tend to conduct their daily activities in ethnically less mixed areas outside their home neighborhoods (which are more segregated). By contrast, respondents who live in highly segregated neighborhoods (with low exposures to the other ethnic group) tend to have higher exposures in their activity locations outside their home neighborhoods (which are less segregated). Therefore, taking into account individuals’ daily activities in non-residential contexts in the assessment of environmental exposure will likely lead to an overall tendency towards the mean exposure. Using Tobit models, we further found that specific types of activity places, especially workplaces and parks, contribute to NEAP. Ignoring individual exposures in people’s activity places will most likely result in misleading findings in the measurement of environmental exposure, including ethnic exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2872
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

Keywords

  • Environmental exposure
  • Ethnic groups
  • Geographic context
  • Neighborhood effect averaging problem (NEAP)
  • Uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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